Skip to main content
Start of content
Start of content

e-4519 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by Brenna Wilson from Waterloo, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • An expected 18 month delay to receiving the Canada Disability Benefit due to regulation process;
  • A risk to life due to insufficient supports on current disability programs federally and provincially;
  • Canadians living with disabilities, on provincial and federal disability benefits, are struggling immensely with benefits significantly below the poverty line, the cost of living crisis and the ever increasing amount of homelessness;
  • Over half of those who are unhoused have one or more disabilities. Benefits are often not nearly enough to cover rent, and persons with disabilities are not prioritized in many municipal or provincial RGI programs;
  • There have been instances of people turning to maid out of economic desperation, often which is exasperating any current medical conditions they have, forced to live in survival mode, making impossible choices, and asking for charity to scrap by;
  • There have been those in the community who have also been lost to suicide; and
  • People are desperately awaiting the CDB, but an additional year and a half without supports will have dire consequences.
We, the undersigned, members of the community of disabled Canadians, call upon the House of Commons to:
1. Consider the implementation of a temporary top up benefit, a Disability Emergency Response Benefit or DERB, to be immediately provided to help all those currently eligible for any disability benefit program, until the Canada Disability Benefit is being distributed; and
2. Consider DERB to fill the gaps and make a difference in the many lives desperately needing support now.

Response by the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Sameer Zuberi

The Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities. Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act, was introduced in the House of Commons on June 2, 2022, and received Royal Assent on June 22, 2023.

The Act is framework legislation, establishing the Benefit and providing the legal authorities to detail the Benefit’s design in future regulations. Regulations made under the Act will prescribe the Benefit amounts, eligibility criteria and other design and administrative elements. This approach, in the spirit of “Nothing Without Us,” will allow the Government to continue to engage with Canadians with disabilities, other stakeholders and provincial and territorial governments to inform the Benefit’s design. Support for the approach of focusing on a long-term sustainable solution was voiced by a number of witnesses to the parliamentary study of Bill C-22. They mentioned that the use of framework legislation deeply aligned with the principle of “Nothing Without Us,” by providing persons with disabilities inclusive and accessible opportunities to participate in the design and detail of a benefit specifically targeted to them.

The Government is very aware of the fact that many Canadians with disabilities need the additional financial support that the Canada Disability Benefit will provide. The intent, therefore, is to move forward quickly with the regulatory development process. To that end, the 2023 federal budget committed $21.5 million in 2023-24 to continue work on the future delivery of the benefit, including engagement on the regulations. This work will build on engagement activities, including roundtables and an on-line public survey, that took place in 2021 and 2022, as well as community-led consultations which continue into 2023. Since August 2023, the Government has started a new phase of engagement with persons with disabilities and stakeholder organizations excited to provide input to the development of the Benefit’s regulations. This new engagement has been through roundtables, bilateral meetings and the future launch of an online engagement tool which will provide every Canadian an opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the regulations. As well, engagement will continue with the provinces and territories, who play a central role in providing supports and services for persons with disabilities.

An interim measure would require a new program to be established including potential additional legislation to be passed by Parliament, as well as the establishment of a new regime of administrative processes and procedures. Given limited resources, this could have the effect of delaying the development and implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit. The Government is focusing its resources on implementing the Benefit as soon as possible, while ensuring the meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities in the development of the regulations.

Open for signature
July 17, 2023, at 8:04 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
October 15, 2023, at 8:04 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Bonita Zarrillo (Port Moody—Coquitlam)
October 19, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01776)
Government response tabled
December 4, 2023
Photo - Bonita Zarrillo
Port Moody—Coquitlam
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia